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Back in 2020 I posted about trading a Colt Diamondback for a 1st Edition Dickens' Christmas Carol. Today I traded a Colt 1991 for a piece of Texas history.

Back in 1951, the King Ranch was gearing up for it's 100th birthday. Bob Kleberg Jr forbid any "dog and pony look at me nonsense". This was to be a solemn occasion. The ranch held a centennial conference on ranching and all it's underlying parts: geneticists, nutritionists, vets, climatologists, and such. The conference was held in 1953 and resulted in producing a book on raising cattle in unfavorable environments. It also led to the genesis of the King Ranch commissioning a book on its history. J Frank Dobie was the logical choice, but Richard Kleberg Jr didn't care for Dobie and considered him a pretend cowboy academic. Eventually they settled on Tom Lea of El Paso and the rest is history. It resulted in what Lea considered his finest work. A 2 volume set covering the entire history of the ranch and including Lea's drawings. It is not on ly a history of the ranch, but of Texas and the cattle industry itself. 2 sets of the books were published in 1957 for the then staggering price of $70,000 the King Ranch received 3000 private copy books. The publisher also sold 5000 trade copies for $17.50 and completely sold out before release.

The trade copies sell fairly often ranging in price from 70 bucks to 400 bucks based off of history and condition. I have 2 sets I have acquired over the years both 1st printings complete with their sleeves. It is an exceptional book.

The book I traded my 1991 for was a private edition. These were never available for sell and were only gifted by the king ranch to libraries, universities, family members etc. In 1994 an unknown allotment of these books was discovered and sold through the Book Club of Texas. They has a King ranch saddle blanket cover with heavy linen paper pages. These are rare. I have only encountered one in person before and my 21 year old self couldn't comprehend paying 500 bucks for a fancied up version of a book I already owned, even if it was mint and signed by Bob Kleberg and Dick Kleberg. That set would be worth a crazy amount of money today. The one I traded for was neither mint nor signed by the Klebergs but it is a work of art nonetheless. It even came with a pamphlet on the creation of the books.

I have read my trade copies at least 5 or 6 times. I love the history and the information and the stories not only of the ranch but the history of the cattle industry itself and Texas.

Anyway, I've waxed poetic long enough. Pics below.
Publication Book Interior design Table Font
Wood Publication Audio equipment Musical instrument Flooring
Personal computer Publication Audio equipment Computer Office equipment
Input device Peripheral Black Wood Computer keyboard
Gesture Communication Device Finger Font Gadget
Hair Computer keyboard Peripheral Beard Input device
Book Publication Font Art Wood
Map World Atlas Material property Publication
Brown Wood Font Material property Publication
Brown Wood Font Rectangle Publication
 

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Back in 2020 I posted about trading a Colt Diamondback for a 1st Edition Dickens' Christmas Carol. Today I traded a Colt 1991 for a piece of Texas history.

Back in 1951, the King Ranch was gearing up for it's 100th birthday. Bob Kleberg Jr forbid any "dog and pony look at me nonsense". This was to be a solemn occasion. The ranch held a centennial conference on ranching and all it's underlying parts: geneticists, nutritionists, vets, climatologists, and such. The conference was held in 1953 and resulted in producing a book on raising cattle in unfavorable environments. It also led to the genesis of the King Ranch commissioning a book on its history. J Frank Dobie was the logical choice, but Richard Kleberg Jr didn't care for Dobie and considered him a pretend cowboy academic. Eventually they settled on Tom Lea of El Paso and the rest is history. It resulted in what Lea considered his finest work. A 2 volume set covering the entire history of the ranch and including Lea's drawings. It is not on ly a history of the ranch, but of Texas and the cattle industry itself. 2 sets of the books were published in 1957 for the then staggering price of $70,000 the King Ranch received 3000 private copy books. The publisher also sold 5000 trade copies for $17.50 and completely sold out before release.

The trade copies sell fairly often ranging in price from 70 bucks to 400 bucks based off of history and condition. I have 2 sets I have acquired over the years both 1st printings complete with their sleeves. It is an exceptional book.

The book I traded my 1991 for was a private edition. These were never available for sell and were only gifted by the king ranch to libraries, universities, family members etc. In 1994 an unknown allotment of these books was discovered and sold through the Book Club of Texas. They has a King ranch saddle blanket cover with heavy linen paper pages. These are rare. I have only encountered one in person before and my 21 year old self couldn't comprehend paying 500 bucks for a fancied up version of a book I already owned, even if it was mint and signed by Bob Kleberg and Dick Kleberg. That set would be worth a crazy amount of money today. The one I traded for was neither mint nor signed by the Klebergs but it is a work of art nonetheless. It even came with a pamphlet on the creation of the books.

I have read my trade copies at least 5 or 6 times. I love the history and the information and the stories not only of the ranch but the history of the cattle industry itself and Texas.

Anyway, I've waxed poetic long enough. Pics below. View attachment 799009 View attachment 799010 View attachment 799011 View attachment 799012 View attachment 799013 View attachment 799014 View attachment 799015 View attachment 799016 View attachment 799017 View attachment 799018
A good trade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's actually smaller than it was back in the 60s. Bob Kleberg had them owning ranches in Spain, Argentina, and Australia. Heck the ranch they had in Australia was bigger than the one in South Texas. Back in the 20s-40s my grandfather used to talk about driving through the King ranch and there weren't any fences along the highways. You crossed a cattle guard and fence when you started driving on the ranch and they fenced off the towns and you crossed a cattle guard when you entered the towns inside the ranch.
 

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How interesting. Reading your post reminded me that I have that same boxed set. I found them in a local antique store a few years ago. Forgot I had them till now. Mine are copyrighted 1957 if that means anything.
 

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Nice Post! Spent my childhood on a ranch in Oklahoma. I had always heard of the King Ranch and always wanted to go there. Several years ago my wife and I attended the TGCA show in Ft. Worth and the following week had another show in Texas. Not wanting to go back to Arkansas and back to Texas we took a week and traveled down to Corpus Cristi and visited the King Ranch. Corpus was a lot of fun. The King Ranch tour was great. It was well worth the trip. We had Hereford cattle, but I was always interested in the Santa Gertrudis breed developed by the King Ranch. If you ever have the chance, I recommend a trip to Corpus Chisti and the King Ranch. We went in October. Corpus is on the Gulf coast and is a tourist attraction. Not so much in October. Great memories!
 
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Back in 2020 I posted about trading a Colt Diamondback for a 1st Edition Dickens' Christmas Carol. Today I traded a Colt 1991 for a piece of Texas history.

Back in 1951, the King Ranch was gearing up for it's 100th birthday. Bob Kleberg Jr forbid any "dog and pony look at me nonsense". This was to be a solemn occasion. The ranch held a centennial conference on ranching and all it's underlying parts: geneticists, nutritionists, vets, climatologists, and such. The conference was held in 1953 and resulted in producing a book on raising cattle in unfavorable environments. It also led to the genesis of the King Ranch commissioning a book on its history. J Frank Dobie was the logical choice, but Richard Kleberg Jr didn't care for Dobie and considered him a pretend cowboy academic. Eventually they settled on Tom Lea of El Paso and the rest is history. It resulted in what Lea considered his finest work. A 2 volume set covering the entire history of the ranch and including Lea's drawings. It is not on ly a history of the ranch, but of Texas and the cattle industry itself. 2 sets of the books were published in 1957 for the then staggering price of $70,000 the King Ranch received 3000 private copy books. The publisher also sold 5000 trade copies for $17.50 and completely sold out before release.

The trade copies sell fairly often ranging in price from 70 bucks to 400 bucks based off of history and condition. I have 2 sets I have acquired over the years both 1st printings complete with their sleeves. It is an exceptional book.

The book I traded my 1991 for was a private edition. These were never available for sell and were only gifted by the king ranch to libraries, universities, family members etc. In 1994 an unknown allotment of these books was discovered and sold through the Book Club of Texas. They has a King ranch saddle blanket cover with heavy linen paper pages. These are rare. I have only encountered one in person before and my 21 year old self couldn't comprehend paying 500 bucks for a fancied up version of a book I already owned, even if it was mint and signed by Bob Kleberg and Dick Kleberg. That set would be worth a crazy amount of money today. The one I traded for was neither mint nor signed by the Klebergs but it is a work of art nonetheless. It even came with a pamphlet on the creation of the books.

I have read my trade copies at least 5 or 6 times. I love the history and the information and the stories not only of the ranch but the history of the cattle industry itself and Texas.

Anyway, I've waxed poetic long enough. Pics below. View attachment 799009 View attachment 799010 View attachment 799011 View attachment 799012 View attachment 799013 View attachment 799014 View attachment 799015 View attachment 799016 View attachment 799017 View attachment 799018
Being raised in Alice, and near Kingsville, I recall seeing these sets in libraries many times!
 
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Sounds like you know your stuff, probably a great trade for you. I once traded a vintage nib revolver and $100 “ta boot” for a bag of grips… A very good trade for me.
 
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It sounds like you made good trades each time. A first edition of A Christmas Carol in good condition is probably worth 10k. I can't imagine what this exquisite copy of The King Ranch is worth but I'm going to guess at least 10 times what you said the high side for a standard first edition goes for. It is a truly impressive book, congratulations!
 

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I've hunted quail on the KIng Ranch and have met Tio and Janell Kleberg. Janell is a talented photographer. If you don't have it, I recommend her book, "Waiting for Daylight". Amazon has it.

I get your fascination. Great trade!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have waiting for daylight. Also have John Cyphers book, 2 books on Assault, Breeding beef Cattle for unfavorable environments, Bob and Helen Kleberg of King Ranch, A kineno remembers, and want a copy of In the crucible of the sun.

I have had the pleasure of meeting both Tio and Tres Kleberg.
 
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